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as did not retard but quicken his devotion, as chanter, almoner, &c. At last he was chosen prior, but refused the place, alleging his own unworthiness, professing he had rather be beaten in pieces with blows than accept thereof; so that another was put into the place. This new elect dying soon after, our John was chosen again in the vacancy, and then took it, fearing there might be as much peevishness in rejecting as pride in affecting it, and hoping that providence, which fairly called him to, would freely fit him for, the discharge of that office.
He used to treat strangers at his table with good cheer, and seemingly kept pace with them in eating morsel for morsel, whilst he had a secret contrivance wherein he conveyed his exceedings above his monastical pittance. Being demanded of one why he did not enter into more strict and austere order? “Surely," said he, "a man may lead a sincere and acceptable life in any order; and it were arrogancy in me to pretend to a severer discipline, when I cannot observe as I ought this easier course of life.” My author saith, that Martha and Mary were both compounded in him, being as pious, so provident to husband the revenues of their house to their best advantage.*
Going to view their lands in Richmondshire, he gave a visit to a woman lately turned an Anchorist, and renowned for her holiness. She told him, that now her vision was out, who the night before dreamed that an eagle flew about her house with a label in his bill, wherein was written, “Jesus is my love." “ And you,” saith she, “are the person who so honour him in your heart, that no earthly thing can distract you.” To whom our John returned, “I came hither to hear from you some saving and savoury discourse; but, seeing you begin with such idle talk, farewell;" and so waved any
further converse. However, I must not dissemblé, that the prophecies fathered on this our John are as fabulous and frivolous as her dreams; witness that deadly passage in an excellent author, “ In Johannis de Bridlington vatis monastici vaticinales rhythmos omnino ridiculos incidimus.” Yet, no doubt, he was a holy man; and could one light on his life unleavened, before heaved up with the ferment of monkish fiction, it would afford many remarkables. He died, in the sixtieth year of his age, 1379: and was reputed (though I believe not solemnly canonized) a saint amongst his own countrymen.
William SLEIGHTHOLME.-It is pity to part him from his last named dear friend ; such the sympathy of amity and sanctity betwixt them. Once this William demanded of his friend John, what might be the reason that the devil in their days affrighted few, if any, with his terrible appearance, who in former ages was very frequent with formidale apparitions ? reflecting, in this
• Harpfield's Ecclesiastical History, p. 577, out of whom his Life is extracted. * Caiden's Britannia, in Yorkshire.
his question, perchance on Saint Paul's “Messenger of Satan sent to buffet him,"* but chiefly on those usual (reported] personal combats of the devil with Saint Dunstan, Guthlake, &c. To whom his friend returned, “We are grown so remiss in goodness, that the devil needs not to put himself to such pains, seeing less and lighter temptations will do the deed." It is recorded of this William, that he was one of singular piety, and after his death wrought many miracles at his tomb in the monastery of Bridlington, where he was buried about the year 1380.+ I will add no more, but that I have a learned friend, William Sleightholme, doctor of physic, living at Buntingford in Hertfordshire, but born in this county, whom I believe remotely related to this Saint.
Expect not here that I should add to this catalogue that maiden, who, to secure her virginity from his unchaste embraces that assaulted it, was by him barbarously murdered, whereby she got the reputation of a saint; and the place, the scene of his cruelty (formerly called Horton) the name of Halifax, or Holy-hair. For the credulous people conceited that the veins, which, in form of little threads, spread themselves between the bark and body of that yew-tree (whereon the head of this maid was hung up) were the very hairs indeed of this virgin head to whom they flock in pilgrimage. I
Oh how sharp-sighted, and yet how blind, is superstition ! Yet these countryfolks' fancies had the advantage of Daphne's being turned into a laurel tree.
In frondem crines, in ramos brachia crescunt. “ Into a bough her hair did spread,
And from her arms two branches bred." But here she is wholly omitted, not so much because her name and time are unknown, but because the judicious behold the whole contrivance devoid of historical truth,
The county (and generally the province of York) escaped very well from Popish persecution, which, under God's goodness, may be justly imputed to the tempers of their four succeeding archbishops:
1. Thomas Wolsey; whom all behold as a person more proud than cruel ; not so busying himself to maintain Popery, as to gain the Popedom.—2. Edward Lee; more furious than the former, persecuting many to imprisonment, none to death, save two, of whom hereafter.||——3. Robert Hollgate ; who was, as they say, a Parcel Protestant, imprisoned and deprived for being married.-4. Nicholas Heath; a meek and moderate man, carrying a court of conscience in his bosom, long before queen Mary made him chancellor of England.
2 Corinthians xii. 7. + Harpfield's Ecclesiastical History, p. 577. Camden's Britannia, in Yorkshire
Ovid, Metamorph. lib. i. 550. See Martyrs in the City of York.
Hereupon it came to pass, that the diocese of York was dry with Gideon's fleece ; whilst others, lying near unto it, were wet in their own tears and blood.
CONFESSORS. Where no fish, there no fry; and seeing here no martyrs, which are confessors full blown, no wonder if here no confessors which are martyrs in the bud.
CARDINALS. John Fisher was born in the town of Beverley in this county. His father, Robert Fisher, was by condition a merchant, and lived in good reputation. He was afterwards bred in Michael house in Cambridge, whereof he was the first chancellor pro termino vite, and bishop of Rochester. How this Fisher was caught afterwards in the net of Elizabeth Barton (commonly called the holy maid of Kent), thereby made accessary to her dissembling; how stiff he was against king Henry's divorce, and title of supreme head of the church ; how the Pope sent him a cardinal's cap, and the king cut off his head, hath been so largely related in my “Ecclesiastical History;" and being, I hope, pardoned by the reader for my former tediousness, I will not now contract a new guilt by offending in prolixity on the same person; the rather because his manuscript life, written eighty years since by Richard Hall of Christ's College in Cambridge, is lately set forth in print under the name of Thomas Baily, D. D.; in which book, as I do not repine at any passages (though hyperbolical) to the praise of this prelate, so I cannot but be both angry and grieved at the many false and scandalous reflections therein on the worthy instruments of our Reformation. This learned bishop was beheaded in the year 1535, the threescore and seventeenth year of his age.
Let me add, he was tried by an ordinary jury, and not by his peers; whereof several reasons are rendered. Some thought he forgot to demand his privilege herein (disturbed with grief and fear), as Edward duke of Somerset forgot to crave the benefit of the clergy, or that he neglected it, as surfeiting of long life, and desirous of his dissolution. Others, because he preferred death in a direct line, before a circumferential passage thereunto, as certain though not so compendious, being assured that the lords durst not displease the king in acquitting him. But most impute it to his suspicion that, if desiring to be tried by his peers, it would have been denied him, as not due to a bishop. And yet that worthy lawyer judge Stamford, in his “ Pleas of the Crown,”* leaveth it doubtful, and seemeth inclined to the affirmative. Besides, Sir Robert Brook, in his “Novel Cases,”+ affirmeth in express terms, that a bishop is peer of the realm, and ought to be tried by his peers. The best is, our charity
* Libro tertio, fol. 153.
† 30 M, 10, p. 465.
may be confident that our bishops will so inoffensively behave themselves, and God we hope so secure their innocence, that there will not hereafter be need to decide this question.
PRELATES. Eustathius de FAUCONBRIDGE was born in this county, where his surname appeareth among the ancient sheriffs thereof. He was chosen bishop of London, in the sixth of king Henry the Third, anno 1222; carrying it clearly from a company of able competitors, occasioning this distich :
Omnes his digni, tu dignior omnibus ; omnes
Hic plenè sapiunt, plenius ipse sapis.*
All fully wise, thou wiser than the rest.” Others played on his name Eustatius,t one that stood well, both in respect of his spiritual estate (yet “let him that standeth take heed lest he fall”) and temporal condition, well fixed in the favour of prince and people, being chief justice, then chancellor of the Exchequer, and afterwards treasurer of England, and twice ambassador to the king of France. He deserved right well of his own cathedral; and, dying October 31, 1228, was buried under a marble tomb, on the south side of the Presbytery;
William 'de Melton was born in this county (wherein are four villages so namedt), and preferred therein provost of Beverley, and canon, then archbishop of York. He went to Avignon, there to procure his consecration. I say to Avignon, whither then the court was removed from Rome ; and continued about three score and ten years, on the same token that those remaining at Rome (almost starved for want of employment) called this “the seventy years' captivity of Babylon.
Consecrated after two years' tedious attendance, he returned into England, and fell to finish the fair fabric of his cathedral, which John Roman had begun, expending seven hundred marks therein.Ş His life was free from scandal, signal for his chastity, charity, fasting, and praying. He strained up his tenants, so as to make good music therewith, but not break the string; and surely church-lands were intended (though not equally, yet mutually) for the comfortable support both of landlord and tenants.
Being unwilling that the infamy of infidel should be fixed upon him (according to the apostle's doctrine) for not "providing for his family," he bought three manors in this county,|| from the archbishop of Rouen, with the Pope's confirmation, and settled them on his brother's son, whose descendant, William Melton, was high sheriff of this county, in the fiftieth of king Edward the Third.
» Godwin, in the Bishops of London.
† Idem, ibidem. See Villare Anglicanum. § Godwin, in the Archbishops of York. 1 Godwin, ut prius.
| See our Catalogue of SHERIFFs in this County.
There is a place in York, as well as in London, called the Old Bailey ; herein more remarkable than that in London, that archbishop Melton compassed it about with a great wall.* bestowed also much cost in adorning the feretrum (English it the bier or coffin) of Saint William, a person purposely omitted by my pen, because no assurance of his English extraction. Archbishop Melton died (after he had sat two-and-twenty years in his see) anno Domini 1340; entombed in the body of his church, nigh the font, whereby I collect him buried below in the bottom of the church; that instrument of Christian initiation anciently advancing but a little above the entrance into the church.
HENRY WAKEFIELD is here placed with assurance, there being three towns of that name in (and none out of) this county. Indeed his is an episcopal name, which might mind him of his office, the diocese of Worcester (to which he was preferred anno 1375, by king Edward the Third) being his field, and he by his place to wake or watch over it: nor hear I of any complaints to the contrary, but that he was very vigilant in his place. He was also for one year lord treasurer of England. Dying March 11, 1394, he lieth covered in his own church, ingenti marmore ;t and let none grudge him the greatness of his gravestone, if two foot larger than ordinary, who made the body of this his church two arches longer westward than he found it, besides a fair porch added thereunto.
Richard SCROOPE, son to the lord Scroope of Bolton in this county, brother to William earl of Wiltshire, was bred a doctor of divinity in Cambridge, attaining to be a man of great learning and unblamable life. Nor was it so much his high extraction as his own abilities, causing him to be preferred bishop first of Coventry and Lichfield, then archbishop of York. Being nettled with the news of his earl brother's beheading, he conjoined with the earl of Northumberland, the earl Marshall, lord Bardolph, and others, against king Henry the Fourth, as an usurper and invader of the liberties of church and state. The earl of Westmoreland, in outward deportment, complied with him, and seemed to approve a writing wherein his main intentions were comprised, so to trepan him into his destruction : toling him on, till it was too late for him either to advance or retreat, the king with his army being at Pontefract.
Bishop Godwin saith, it doth not appear that he desired to be tried by his peers; and I believe it will appear that nothing was then calmly or judiciously transacted, but all being done in a hurry of heat, and by martial authority. The executioner had five strokes at his neck, before he could sunder it
Godwin, ut prius.
† Godwin, in his Bishops of Worcester.